“You’re a skeleton, left cold and moss-covered deep within a forest cave. Suddenly, you’re given sentience by some unknown force that guides you through a cryptic adventure. This disembodied voice leads through a narrative to discover who you really are and why you ended up in that cave.
“Or how about this: You’re a denizen in the sprawling suburbs of Lavaria, a city whose energy comes from a central active volcano. Luminous flying insectoids are beginning to infest the homes in your neighborhood. You begin to investigate this anomaly on your own only to discover that the ultimate answer lies in the heart of the volcano itself.
“Or maybe you’re…quickly losing interest…I can tell.”
These are some of Greg Coughlin’s rehearsed albeit incomplete pitches for Mosaic Games, a video game developer where he works as a junior designer. He writes artless dialogue for games he doesn’t care about while he fantasizes about directing a project of his own. These fantasies, however, do not belong to him. They have cryptic origins in his ailing father’s fabricated realities.
As Greg visits his father at a luxurious assisted living facility, he takes notes on various details of his declining mental health. In this, he not only finds inspiration from the bizarre stories that he’s told, he begins to find patterns and relationships in aspects of his father’s ramblings that might help him recover some semblance of the man he once knew as his dad. Yet as Greg delves deeper into his father’s psychosis, his own sense of reality becomes much more fluid.
Cicada follows Greg as he wades through his fluctuating perceptions in trying to determine the threads of truth in his father’s realities while maintaining a firm grasp on his own life. From simply taking notes on the strange stories to his fevered search for the real volcano of Lavaria or the actual mossy skeleton in the cave, Greg weaves his presence into many magical worlds.